Better baggage routing at Lester Pearson
Air Canada is becoming an attractive option for travelers connecting to the US, thanks to a simplified baggage handling process at its Toronto Lester B Pearson International airport hub. The new system sends checked baggage to connecting flights, so that connecting customers no longer have to retrieve their checked bags for US customs’ inspection.
“Air Canada’s Toronto Pearson hub is already recognized as a North American gateway and this simplified baggage process makes it even more attractive. It strengthens Toronto’s position as a preferred routing by making transit through Pearson easier for customers who are increasingly choosing to travel our international network because it offers some of the best elapsed travel times between the US and other global centres in Europe and Asia,” commented Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.
Sequestration starts to bite
The US Federal Aviation Administration has decided to close one third of its air traffic control towers that are located at smaller airports. This will come into effect on April 7.
In all, just under 150 towers will be affected, involving 46 states. These towers are part of FAA’s contract tower program that hires third-party controller staff to manage towers at small airports.
Immune will be 24 federal contract towers that had previously been proposed for closure; further, 16 towers under a cost share program will also continue to operate through congressional statute funding.
The US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, admitted that the agency had heard from communities across the country, stressing the importance of their towers, but nonetheless, closure decisions had had to be made.
Profits take a tumble at LatAm
LatAm Airlines’ net profit dipped by 96.6% in 2012 to US$10.96m, says a company report. This was in large part due to the cost of LAN’s takeover of Brazil’s TAM airline, coupled with higher taxes in Chile.
That said, Latin America’s principal carrier revealed that it had seen a significant improvement in its major market, Brazil, this year; however, it would still cut its planned capital expenditure for the 2013-2015 fleet by a total of US$1.2bn. Simply put, the group is in the process of adjusting its fleet plan in order to match its capacity expansion plans. The company said that it would continue to evaluate alternatives in order to rationalize its fleet orders.
The group revealed that fleet investment would total US$2.047bn this year, US$1.993bn in 2014 and US$806m in 2015: cost of its future aircraft would be partly assisted through debt issues. Total merger synergies should reach between US$600m and US$700m, and will be fully achieved by June 2016, LatAm said.
Have knife, will travel…
The TSA has modified its list of prohibited items that can be carried on aircraft on an overall risk-based security approach: this comes into effect on April 25. The modified rule will allow passengers to carry small pocket knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36 inches and less than 1/2 inch in width. Passengers will also be allowed to carry small and toy bats, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, billiard cues and two golf clubs. However, the list does not allow razor blades and box cutters, full-size baseball, softball or cricket bats.
TSA spokesman David Castelveter said that the decision was made in order to bring US regulations more into line with ICAO standards, and that it would also assist in offering an improved passenger experience.
“This is part of an overall risk-based security approach, which allows transportation security officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives,” he explained.
The US Flight Attendants Union Coalition has expressed its dismay at the decision and,amongst others, US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker has asked the Transportation Security Administration to reconsider its decision to allow such implements past airport security.
Boeing to trim its workforce – but will add staff
Boeing has said that it has plans to lay off about 800 machinists this year as it reduces its workforce on its B747 and B787 aircraft. The reductions are part of a long term plan but do not necessarily signal changes in production rates for either model.
Interestingly, Boeing is doubling its output of the B787, even though the model is currently grounded and cannot be delivered to customers. By the end of 2013 it aims to produce ten a month.
The eliminated positions are the only layoffs the Chicago-based company plans as it trims its workforce by 2,000 this year in the Puget Sound region. The remainder of the reductions will be through attrition and redeployment, the company says. These layoffs will mainly affect machinists involved in change incorporation work, or those reworking aircraft that have left the factory for the B787 and B747 programs.
On the plus side, Boeing is looking to take on 8,000 to 10,000 workers this year across the company.